Advisory Council

Dr. Denise Gifford serves as Associate Provost and Dean of Student Success and Associate Professor in Education at American University of Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.  Prior to AURAK, Dr. Gifford served as Associate Provost and Dean of Students at Widener University. She has also served in leadership roles as the first woman Dean of Students at Zayed University dedicated to the higher education of Emirati women located in Dubai & Abu Dhabi. She was responsible for oversight of all student services & supervised a 46 member staff from 10 different countries. Her passion for International Service Learning led her to create and manage the 1st International hands-on service projects for female students of the university to Thailand, Cambodia, and India.

Dr. Gifford for 30 years was with the University of Louisville and from 1995-2005 served as Vice President for Student Affairs. She was responsible for the provision of efficient student services to 22,000 students, as well as the planning, management, leadership, supervision, and evaluation of a staff of 170 & oversight of an operating budget of  $22 million. Her legacy there includes a robust award winning International Service Learning program that currently takes over 100 students and 20 faculty annually to 10 different International locations for service learning .

  • Student Services
  • International Student Engagement
  • Retention
  • Diversity
  • Student Leadership
  • Bachelor of Science, Ohio University
  • Masters in Education, Ohio University
  • Ed.D Political Higher Education Policy & Evaluation, University of Kentucky

Dr. Candace Goodwin is an Executive Coach and consultant with over 30 years of executive leadership experience, directing innovation and change, leading teams, and providing organizational & leadership development. Candace has designed and delivered workshops in areas such as: Coaching Skills for Leaders, Growth Mindset,  Powerful Communication, Emotional Intelligence, Strategic Planning and Goal Setting, and Employee Engagement.

Her professional experience ranges from a Vice President of Accounting to a President of a University.  Candace has worked in higher education for most of her 30-year career.  She played a pivotal role in advancing Robert Morris University and DeVry University. At Robert Morris, she opened an extension site in Naperville, Illinois and within two years converted the site into a full-service campus and grew the population to over 500 students, surpassing all projections.   She was promoted to Senior Vice President of Enrollment Management where she oversaw admissions, marketing, communication, athletics, and new location development. Within five years, she led the expansion of five new locations and grew the population to nearly 8,000 students.

Dr. Goodwin has also founded, and is the Executive Director of the non-profit organization, My Charlie’s Heart Foundation.

  • Executive Coaching
  • Leadership Development
  • Enrollment Management
  • Employee Engagement
  • Strategic Planning
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Illinois
  • MBA  Human Resources Management, DePaul University
  • Ed.D Organizational Leadership, Argosy University

Dr.  Steve Jones is the President/CEO of Great Blue Heron in Madison Alabama, which is a consulting firm dedicated to applying nature’s wisdom to living, learning, serving, and leading. Steve is also well known as a university administrator and has worked in senior higher education positions for over 30 years.

He has been a President and Chancellor at four institutions, Fairmont State University (Interim), Antioch University New England (Campus President) Urbana University in Ohio (President) and The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) (Chancellor). He began his academic career as an instructor at SUNY and an Associate & Assistant Professor with the School of Forest Resources at Pennsylvania State University. In 2001 he became Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement for North Carolina State University in Raleigh and then became Chancellor of University of Alaska Fairbanks.

He is a published author and written in a number of academic publications and journals. He is also a founding board member of the Alabama State Parks Foundation and the Nature Based Leadership Institute.

  • University Leadership
  • Community Engagement
  • Fundraising
  • Strategic Planning
  • Nature Based Projects
  • Associate of Science, Allegheny Community College, PA
  • Bachelor of Science, State University of New York Syracuse
  • Ph.D Environmental Science & Forestry, State University of New York Syracuse

Cheryl King an expert in the field of workforce development has dedicated her career focusing on adult and post secondary education at the state and national levels. She has held a variety of positions in state government and higher education. They include serving in 2006 as VP of External Relations then selected as President of Kentucky Wesleyan College from 2008-11, focusing on long term sustainability through a highly detailed Strategic Plan, that asked the tough questions.  She returned to state government as Senior Policy Advisor for Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education to develop competency-based education options to help adults to be successful and complete a credential or degree.  Recently she has worked with the Lumina Foundation Strategy Labs program as a State Advisor to help states achieve the Foundation’s goal of 60% of U.S. adults with college degrees, certificates or quality credentials by 2025.

Cheryl has served in a number of state government posts and task forces including the commission that led to the development and ultimate passage of Kentucky Adult Education Act in 2000.  This led to increased funding, identified best practice, and set specific goals for adult programs in every county.  Later as Vice President for Kentucky Adult Education with the KY Council, King and her staff implemented the new legislation, and during her tenure the state made significant gains in GED completions and the percentage of adults transitioning to post secondary education and the workforce.

King was also selected in 2006 as the Study Director for the newly created National Commission on Adult Literacy.  The Commission, comprised of national leaders in business, education, and government, made the case to address the educational needs of millions of adults in the U.S.

  • Workforce Development
  • Adult Education and Literacy
  • Private/Public Partner Development
  • Small College Leadership
  • Fundraising
  • Bachelors of Arts in Education, Kentucky Wesleyan College
  • M.A in Education and Psychology, Western Kentucky University
  • Ed.D Organizational Leadership, Vanderbilt University

Dan L. King, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of University Administrators (AAUA), has worked as a provost/academic vice president at three institutions—with the longest of these services at Rhode Island College; prior to his vice presidencies, he served as a dean at three other institutions—the longest of which was at Buffalo State College (State University of New York). The majority of his experience as a faculty member in educational administration/leadership occurred at North Dakota State University.

King has authored/coauthored a book chapter, four technical reports, and over 50 papers which have been published or presented in scholarly forums. He has been principal or co-principal investigator on nine different funded grant projects totaling over $5 million; has served on the editorial boards of two journals—Educational Planning, and the National Forum of Applied Educational Research Journal (NFAERJ); served as editor for the NFAERJ in 2002 and 2004; and has served as editor for several annual issues of the Journal of Higher Education Management.

Dan has received numerous recognition’s for his outstanding work in public school education King maintains active membership in the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He is a past member of the Board of Directors and past Vice President for Development of the Erie (Pennsylvania) Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Strategic Planning
  • Executive Coaching and Mentoring
  • Professional Development Training
  • Public School Training and Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Bachelors of Music, Madonna University
  • Masters of Arts Education Research, University of Detroit
  • Ed.D Educational Leadership, Wayne State University

Dr. Samuel Martin-Barbero is a Higher Education Senior Executive & Thought University Leader with proven global, strategic, innovative and cross-disciplinary experience within liberal arts and sciences college, research/comprehensive university and business school models. He holds additional professional background in consultancy, media and telecom industries.

He currently serves as Presidential Distinguished Fellow at the University of Miami. Previously, he has held the position of Rector/President at University Camilo José Cela, in Madrid (Spain) and Chairman (ex officio) at Foundation University Camilo José Cela. He was Founding-Dean and Professor at IE School of Communication-IE University; Associate Dean and Associate Professor at IE Business School and, Secretary General of the International Advisory Board at IE University. At a corporate level, he worked as Project Manager for Education and Technology at Telefónica Group after some years as a Reporter in the Culture Section for Prisa Media Group (CNN Spain and Cadena Ser).

He has been an active member of the Global Agenda Council on Informed Societies and of the Knowledge Advisory Group, both at the World Economic Forum and accumulated field project experience partnering with multilateral organizations, large corporations, and NGOs. He frequently writes on transnational higher education trends and challenges for specialized publications such as Times Higher Education, Higher Education Policy Institute, The Conversation and World Economic Forum-Agenda blog. Currently, he is a member of the International Editorial Advisory Board of the academic journal, Journalism & Mass Communication Educator.

  • Organizational Change
  • Talent and Culture
  • Curriculum Reform
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Internationalization
  • B.A Honours from the University Complutense of Madrid
  • Certificate in History, Politics and Management, Lunds University (Sweden)
  • M.A. in Journalism El País-University Autónoma of Madrid
  • Ph.D. in Communication (Outstanding Doctoral Award), University Complutense of Madrid
  • Global Senior Management Program from The University of Chicago-Booth School of Business (US) & IE Executive Ed

Dr. Allen Meadors is an American higher education professor and administrator. He has worked in international higher education as President/CEO of St. John International University in Torino, Italy and served as Executive Director for Higher Education for the Ministry of Higher Education in the United Arab Emirates. He is currently serving as an Associate Editor for the journals “Frontiers in Public Health” and “Frontiers in Education”.

His previous US career included serving as President/Chancellor of three US state universities including Penn State Altoona (February 1994 to June 1999); University of North Carolina-Pembroke (July 1999 to June 2009); and University of Central Arkansas (July 2009 to September 2011).  Prior positions held include Dean of Health, Social and Public Services, Eastern Washington University; Dean of Public Health, University of Oklahoma, Executive Director of the Northwest Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute; and an executive at Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas.

Dr. Meadors has been successful in attracting quality staff and generating new funding for buildings and endowed faculty positions.

  • Executive Recruitment
  • University Leadership
  • Enrollment Management
  • International Education
  • Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Central Arkansas
  • Masters in Public Administration, University of Kansas
  • Ph.D Administration & Education, Southern Illinois University

Dr. Senthil Nathan is Co-Founder of Edu Alliance Group, Inc. and Managing Partner of Edu Alliance Ltd in Abu Dhabi, UAE.  Since the founding of the company in 2014, Senthil has been involved in numerous advisory & consulting projects for higher education institutions, and investment firms . He also serves as a subject matter expert for engineering firms in the field of  campus planning.

He joined the Higher Colleges of Technology in 1993, the largest higher education institution in the UAE with 23,000 UAE National students. He served in a variety of positions and from 2006-2103 was Deputy Vice Chancellor / Vice Provost for Planning & Administration. He has been involved in numerous advisory and consulting roles in education / training & development engagements to a multitude of clients in the United Arab Emirates, Canada, The United States, Africa, and India and speaks on the current issues of higher education in the Middle East.

Dr. Nathan in 2014 received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the National Institute of Technology in India by the former President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam and he is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Livingston University in Uganda.  In addition to his Ph.D. in engineering from Rice University, Senthil has completed executive education programs from Harvard and MIT.

  • University Administration & Strategic planning
  • Institutional & Program Accreditation
  • Institutional Effectiveness
  • Institutional Development
  • Campus Planning
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honors), National Institute of Technology, India
  • Masters of Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • Ph.D in Engineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA

Jay Noren, M.D., is the Founding Director and Professor-Clinician Executive Master of Healthcare Administration Program, University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine and School of Public Health.

His 40-year career includes President of Wayne State University, Founding Provost of Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, the founding Dean College of Public Health The University of Nebraska Medical Center, as well as the Executive Vice President and Provost for the University of Nebraska. Noren has also served as Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at Texas A&M University, Interim Chancellor for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and Vice Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin.

He has secured numerous grants for his institutions. Dr. Noren has published numerous papers and books over the years in health and workforce partnerships. Noren was the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences and U.S. Congress, and a Churchill Fellow in the United Kingdom.

  • University Leadership
  • Medical Schools Development
  • Strategic Planning
  • Federal Grants
  • Faculty Development
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Minnesota
  • Masters in Public Health, Harvard University
  • M.D  University of Minnesota

Marci Powell is President/CEO of Marci Powell & Associates and an expert in the field of educational technology with extensive experience in applications related to lifelong learning and innovation. She is also the founder of Virtually Inspired, a place where educators can come for inspiration by perusing each video showcase below to see how creative professionals around the globe are infusing technology with learning. It ranges from holographs and educational games, to drones and robots, 21st century educators are forging new and amazing trails in technology-enhanced teaching and learning.

Ms. Powell is Chair Emerita and Past President of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). Marci was inducted into the USDLA Hall of Fame, named Higher Ed Tech Decisions Top 10 Leaders in Higher Education as well as an EDEN fellow for the European Distance and ELearning Network for her distinguish contributions to the European learning field.

Before assuming her current position Powell was the Global Director for Education at Polycom. She has also served as Director of Educational Advocacy for AT&T. Powell began her career as a classroom teacher and quickly moved on to serve as an administrator at various educational institutions across Texas.

Ms. Powell also writes and speaks on digital learning, video for learning, and innovative education for numerous national and international media sites.

  • Learning & Innovation
  • Educational Technology
  • Distance Learning
  • Global Education and Partnerships
  • Bachelor of Education, Lamar University
  • Attended Texas A&M University
  • Attended Nova Southeastern University

Dr Barry Ryan is President Emeritus of Sofia University in California and from 2013-19 served as a Commissioner for WASC Senior College & University Commission. He has extensive background in teaching, academic administration, accreditation, and law.  As a first generation college student, he fell in love with higher education in all of its many forms.  Barry has served in large public universities, as well as in non-profit, faith-based, and for-profit institutions of all sizes, in traditional and online educational contexts.

Barry’s international experience is equally varied.  He has focused on international education and throughout his career, established programs for US universities throughout Latin America and Europe.  As part of a long history of involvement in regional accreditation, he has just completed his second term as a Commissioner with WSCUC (“WASC”).  Barry has also worked with HLC and SACS, as well as a number of programmatic accreditors, including the ABA, APA, ACPE, CACREP, ACOTE, CODA, ACBSP, CCNE, CAPTE, and ATS.

His legal service has included law school teaching and consulting, as well as the practice of law.  One of the highlights of his professional career was his appointment as the Supreme Court Judicial Fellow, working in the chambers of former Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.

In university settings, Barry has lengthy and recognized service as a faculty member in multiple disciplines.  He has been in the roles of department chair, founder and director of a center for teaching and learning, dean, vice president, provost, and president.

  • Global Education and Partnerships
  • Accreditation
  • University Leadership
  • University Operations
  • Institutional Effectiveness
  • Bachelor of Arts, History Westmont College
  • M.Div. Fuller Seminary
  • Ph.D University of California, Santa Barbara
  • J.D. University of California, Berkeley
  • Dip. Global Business Said School of Business, Oxford University.

Ken Salomon is chair of the Thompson Coburn Lobbying & Policy Group. Over the course of his career, he has provided clients with government relations and public policy services in a broad range of issues, including higher education, intellectual property, telecommunications, e-commerce, financial services, and international trade.

Ken was Deputy Chief Counsel at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is the presidential advisor on communications and information policy. He also served as senior legal counsel at the Federal Communications Commission. He has conducted numerous lobbying campaigns, e-commerce, higher education, and telecommunications projects.

In 2015, Mr. Salomon was appointed to the Ethics Committee of the United States Olympic Committee. He is also a member of the Industry Advisory Board of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association.

  • Higher Education Law
  • Education Lobbying
  • Ethics
  • Telecommunications
  • E-commerce
  • Bachelor of Arts, Tufts University
  • Juris Doctorate, George Washington University Law School